Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Five Things I Knew a Bit About but Didn’t Understand*

These are drawn, very loosely, from a rather marvellous book by Simon Flynn called ‘The Science Magpie’ (Icon Books Ltd, 2013).  The title tells you all you need to know about it.

1.      You believe your weight to be 8st 9oz, or in my case, 12st 3oz, right?  Wrong.  That’s your mass.  Your weight (which is measured in Newtons) will depend on where you are.  It’s a relationship between your mass and the strength of gravity, which varies from place to place.  To test this, go to the Moon.

2.      Water boils at 1000C, doesn’t it?  Well, it might do where you are, near sea level; but at the top of Mount Everest it’s just 680C.  No wonder it took them so long to get up there – couldn’t get a decent cup of tea.

3.      Heaven may be hotter than Hell, or not, depending on how you interpret the Bible and apply the relevant measurements.

4.      Guess what the most important equation was in the history of humankind?  That’s right: ‘1 + 1 = 2’.

5.      I still don’t know what ‘electrical charge’ is.

* I’m not saying I now do, completely, but it’s been fun confirming my ignorance.


  1. I believe that Eon can help you with point 5

  2. 5. mine used to come in a brown envelope but now disappears straight out of my bank.

    5. find an electric fence and touch it.

  3. Very funny, ha ha.

    I'm surprised nobody challenged #3.